CNRFF TO CRFFN: ADDRESS LINGERING ADMINISTRATIVE ISSUES OR FACE INDUSTRIAL ACTION
** Says Association can no longer stand and watch freight forwarders lose their means of livelihood
In this interview with the Prestige Blended Magazine, Concerned Nigerian Registered Freight Forwarders- CNRFF, a collaboration of over 10 groups in the Freight Forwarding Subsector, through its Convener, Dr, Basil Chudi Nwolisa, who is also President of Association of Nigeria Customs Brokers- ANCB as well as the National Director, Logistics and Liaison, Nigeria Labour Cooperative Society-NLCS, speaks on lingering issues bordering on CRFFN management and welfare of freight forwarders
Sir, the recent Freight Forwarders Summit you conveyed in FESTAC produced a communique which one of the resolutions is to ensure the welfare of freight forwarders who are really struggling with policies that are threatening their livelihood, what’s your take on that ?
I am particularly concerned about the level of hardship freight forwarders are going through due to very harsh and unfriendly trade rules and policies. Customs can decide to come up with any policy at any time without engaging freight forwarders to dissect the pros and cons of the policy so as to know how it will affect importation as well as its effect on end users. The Council for Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria-CRFFN,whose mandate includes the welfare and protection of our businesses keep looking the other way, it is quite unfortunate, but the good thing is that Concerned Nigerian Registered Freight Forwarders-CNRFF which is a collaboration of 10 groups in the Freight Forwarding Subsector will not stand aloof and watch while our business and livelihood are being emasculated by formulators of very toxic policies. The CRFFN should rise to the occasion, they should not compromise the welfare of freight forwarders for personal gains.
Secondly, we would want to know what is hindering the Council in carrying out their statutory functions.
Sir, how long should Freight Forwarders wait for the implementation of the 32 resolutions contained in the FFCT Communique ?
I think we don’t have to continue waiting , we have to match words with action. Inspite of the fact that Concerned Nigerian Registered Freight Forwarders-CNRFF has thrown its weight in support of the implementation of the 32 resolutions contained in the Freight Forwarders Consultative Forum-FFCF Communique, non of the items has so far been enforced. In case some of the industry players don’t know, gone are the days when whatever they churned out as policies and decisions were swallowed hook, line and stinker, no, it is not in this time and era. We have decided to change the narrative and that decision informed the coming together of over 10 freight forwarding groups on one platform to diplomatically and professionally defend and protect our business and livelihood and the welfare of the common man because what affects the Port industry affects every one who buys in the Nigerian market.
We as body, need to know why Freight Forwarders are abandoned and forced to resort to self help while the Registrar of the Council relaxes in his air-conditioned office to monitor the payment of POF and ignore the welfare of those he is regulating. Today, freight forwarders are facing issues relating to Customs arbitrary issuance of DN, baseless queries on genuine declarations made for Customs purposes, shipping companies’ high-handedness, etc. Here again, we have no one to complain to. We are just at the mercy of Government agencies and service providers.
Council should let us know what the issues are particularly those we voted to represent us. The 15 practitioners owe us some explanations on what is going on in the Council.
Again, we are yet to know the actual truth about the alleged certificate forgery by the Registrar and the rumor making the rounds that the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Transportation is shielding him from being prosecuted for various infractions. We need clarifications on those critical issues. We have seen that the Registrar is careless about carrying out his roles and he should be called to order and if found not having the capacity, he should be shown the way out.
What actions will your association be taking if these issues are not addressed ?
If after 7 days from now and our association discovers that no one cares about our plight we shall take it up officially, and if that approach fails, the next option shall be to galvanize the support of our members for withdrawal of services in all ports. We have ran out of patience as l speak to you, we cannot fold our hands and watch our members keep loitering like sheep without shepherd.
We want to also believe that the Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Transportation is not part of our predicaments, and that the rumor making the rounds that the Registrar is trying to acquire a new office for an over bloated amount is far from the truth. If this very issue is not clarified we shall be forced to believe that the Council is being managed by people of shaded characters who are not worthy of trust.
If this trend continues, we can not guarantee industrial harmony anymore as our members are living in total frustration. Enough is enough !